A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Yes, Kashmir is not the issue

11:31 AM 1/17/2009

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Yes, Kashmir is not the issue

This has reference to Gautam Adhikari’s top article in TOI (Jan 17, 2009): Kashmir is not the issue.

Gautam Adhikari has rightly or wrongly chosen to address the issue of Kashmir, as if the matter is exclusively confined between states, India, Pakistan, UK, US.

Of course, it is the states that have playing with the lives of the people. But if matters of populated territories are the bone of contention; (at least in this age of democracies, however flawed that may be), if any settlement is made that is not confirmed by the people, the wound will never heal.

The way Gautam Adhikari writes: The Kashmir issue was in fact ‘resolved’, i.e. signed and sealed — when the Simla accord between India and Pakistan was initialed in 1972 following the Bangladesh war.’, one cannot help recalling how the First World War resolution, imposed on Germany, helped Hitler to rise and wage the Second World War.

Any solution on the battlefield can never be the last word. The people have to be satisfied that justice is done.

Secondly, why India should is waiting for the West to impose a solution on Kashmir, tailored according to their own global security and economic agenda?

Why Indian leadership is not bold and farsighted enough to read into the future and make its own moves to settle matters with its neighbours and bring them into its own area of friendship circle —- without any interference from the Western hegemonists.

The imperialists had partitioned India, for their own global security strategies, to use Pakistan as a military base, to contain Soviet Russia after the Second World War and to protect the Gulf oil reserves, badly needed for Europe’s reconstruction.

Our people made a mess of our own country, without realising the long term implications of cutting off our own limb and giving our enemies to foster in our neighbourhood. If we had the foresight, we would never have agreed to partition the country and would have preferred to solve our internal problems with more restrain and generosity.

The same dividing scenario is now being presented to us and the West is again on its old game of ‘divide and rule’ tactics.

Our thinkers should think out of the box and see that independent India has its own views about the collective security of the sub-continent and it will be prepared to take along all its neighbours with it, by inspiring confidence and acting for just and fair solutions.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




Saturday, January 17, 2009


TOP ARTICLE | Kashmir Is Not The Issue

17 Jan 2009, 0010 hrs IST, Gautam Adhikari

There we go again. The latest to join the `Kashmir will have to be resolved for terrorism from Pakistan to stop’ chorus is British foreign

secretary David Miliband. He wrote in The Guardian on Thursday that “resolution of the Kashmir dispute would help deny extremists one of their main calls to arms and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders”. Really? Well, here’s why that’s unlikely to happen.

To start with, let’s review a bit of history. The Kashmir issue was in fact `resolved’ i.e. signed and, many assumed, `sealed’ when the Simla accord between India and Pakistan was initialled in 1972 following the Bangladesh war. The two nations agreed that the line of actual control separating them in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state would be a de facto border. Not de jure, alas, because legend has it that when Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto went for a walk in the hills, the Pakistani leader convinced the Indian prime minister that making the Line of Control a real international border would not only make his political survival in Islamabad impossible, it would surely bring the army back in power.

And peace did reign between India and Pakistan no war, no cross-border terrorism for 17 long years. Until 1989, when the Pakistani security forces began to send mujahideen as well as other jehadi elements to fight on the Kashmir front since the lads were suddenly unemployed after the end of the Afghan war against the Soviet army. Soon after, the ISI also created the Lashkar-e-Taiba comprised mostly of non-Kashmiris as a special outfit to create trouble across the Line of Control.

Now, we should acknowledge that the Indian authorities did a few stupid things in that tinderbox of a region in the late 80s. New Delhi allowed a state election in 1987 to be rigged, creating resentment in the local population; the security forces cracked down far too hard on various protesters in the next couple of years and popular anger grew.

It would be quite fair to criticise Indian tactics and for human rights activists to point out reported atrocities committed by Indian security forces. And many did criticise, including several voices from India. But how does that give Pakistan a licence to intervene by sending jehadis across a mutually agreed border from 1989 onwards till today with not even a compelling refugee crisis to justify such intervention?

Over the years, there have been other instances in Indian border states Gujarat and Punjab, for example of perceived or real official mistreatment of minorities. But does that mean that Pakistan would have had a case for sending jehadis into, say, Gujarat following the 2002 massacre of Muslims? No. But Kashmir is special, isn’t it?

It is, because it’s a leftover of the bitter fallout of India’s partition into two nations in 1947. But the issue must be understood clearly for what it is by all those in the rest of the world who insist that a `resolution’ of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is a precondition for tackling terrorism emanating from Pakistan today.

Without recounting a long story about its origin, Kashmir is a partition-era dispute between India and Pakistan for possession of a former princely state. It is not about `independence’ of Kashmir. There are some Kashmiris who want national independence; but India and Pakistan are fighting over absorption of the state. One problem of global perception is that Pakistan has successfully sold a line to the world tacitly accepted by many, especially in the US and UK, for tactical reasons in the Cold War era that the fight in Kashmir is all about independence and Pakistan supports that cause.

A ruse that Islamabad uses to make its case is to call the portion under its control `Azad’ or independent Kashmir. The truth is that neither India nor Pakistan argues for Kashmir’s independence, not even under the UN plebiscite resolutions. Therefore, a solution of the dispute between the two cannot have independence of Kashmir as an option. In fact, the only viable solution would be to improve the Simla agreement and make the Line of Control a real border, with a measure of flexibility to allow cross-border movement and commerce. That solution was seriously being considered until terrorism blew a hole in it.

The point to ponder is: Is any solution of the Kashmir dispute acceptable ultimately to the Pakistani military establishment and the ISI? If it is, what prevents Islamabad from, first, coming down hard on terrorists on its own since jehadis now threaten Pakistan’s own stability and integrity and separately to allow talks on Kashmir to proceed with India? Why should any terrorist be allowed to operate from its soil by citing the Kashmir cause?

Unfortunately, the reality of power in Pakistan is too grim to cover up by simplistically citing Kashmir as a root cause of terrorism in the subcontinent. The reality is that the Pakistani military actually keeps itself in control of affairs instead of helping Pakistan to become truly democratic by citing a constant external threat. Those with influence over Pakistan must ask whether the time has come for the world to call the military’s bluff. A democratic Pakistan and a democratic India can live together in peace and, eventually, in economic prosperity. But, for that to happen, first drive the Pakistani army back into the barracks to make that country safe for the region and the world.

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2 Responses to “A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Yes, Kashmir is not the issue”

  1. Islamabad Says:

    Kashir is the real issue. We cant ignore it

  2. kashmirihindu Says:

    Absolutely Kashmir is not an issue we should resolve it ourselves.

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